Jack Royston, Newsweek, March 10, 2022
Prince William was accused of “horrific comments” by Martin Luther King’s daughter in the aftermath of a Ukrainian community event where he was partially misquoted.
Bernice King linked the Duke of Cambridge’s remarks to colonialism after William and Kate Middleton visited the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in London to support the relief effort on March 9.
Footage from the event showed Prince William said: “Everyone is horrified by what they are seeing. The news every day, it’s almost unfathomable to actually witness it, to see it. For our generation, it’s very alien to see this in Europe. We’re all right behind you.”
The Press Association originally reported William also suggested Britons were more used to seeing conflict in Africa and Asia—though footage released by ITV of the royal’s full comments suggested he in fact made no explicit reference to the two continents.
However, some maintained their criticism of the duke based on the reference to war in Europe feeling “very alien.”
King, the chief executive of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, condemned the prince having seen the original, misleading account.
She wrote on Twitter: “Horrific comment. European people ran roughshod over the continent of Africa, pillaging communities, raping women, enslaving human beings, colonizing for profit and power, stealing resources, causing generational devastation. And European nations continue to harm Africa.”
After the new footage emerged, King wrote: “I believe that we have a great deal of work to do globally to eradicate what my father called the Triple Evils of Militarism, Racism and Poverty.
“I believe that language matters in that work. And that it is harmful for a global figure to express war as ‘alien to Europe.'”
Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, a prominent commentator on race in Britain, told Newsweek the remarks about war in Europe feeling alien were offensive on their own.
She said: “William says it’s alien in Europe. This is on the back of two weeks of western media also saying it’s alien in Europe, also saying Western countries are civilized. I’m sorry, if it’s alien in Europe, where is he referring to it as being normal?”
It is not the first time Prince William has been accused of colonial comments, after he linked the pressure on wildlife in Africa to the human population in a November speech.
The duke said: “The increasing pressure on Africa’s wildlife and wild spaces as a result of human population presents a huge challenge for conservationists, as it does the world over.”